The History of Leith

March 3, 2012

A remarkable episode

In 1428 a remarkable episode occurred in the abbey church. Alexander, Lord of the Isles, who had been in rebellion against James I., but had been utterly defeated,, by the royal troops in
Lochaber, sent messengers to the king to sue for mercy. But the latter, justly incensed, refused to enter into any negotiations with an outlawed fugitive. Alexander, driven to despair, and compelled to fly from place to place, was compelled at last to trust to the royal mency. Travelling secretly to Edinburgh, he suddenly presented himself, upon a solemn festival, before the high altar of Holyrood, and holding his drawn sword by the point, he presented the hilt to the astonished king, in token of his unconditional submission, and falling on his knees, in presence of Queen Jane and the whole court, implored the royal mercy. The ill-fated James granted him his life, at the tender intercession of his royal consort, but sent him a prisoner to the sequestered castle of
Tantallon, on its sea-beat rock, under the charge of his nephew, the Earl of Angus. The island chief eventually received a free pardon, was restored to all his honours, castles, and estates, and stood as sponsor for the twin princes, Alexander and James, at the font.

source-Old and New Edinburgh

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